ACLU’s Anti-Christian Agenda Exposed in AFLC’s Reply Brief Filed in Defense of Christian Police Officer
Today, the American Freedom Law Center (AFLC) filed its reply brief in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit in defense of Captain Paul Fields, a Christian police officer in Oklahoma who was summarily punished by the City of Tulsa Police Department for refusing to attend and refusing to assign officers under his command who shared his religious beliefs to attend a mandated Islamic proselytizing event held at a local mosque. The event included mosque tours, watching the weekly prayer service, and receiving presentations on Islamic beliefs.
In its brief, AFLC exposes the hypocrisy of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), which filed a “friend of the court” brief in the Tenth Circuit in support of the police department’s persecution of Captain Fields. Indeed, while dismissive of Captain Paul Fields’ Christian beliefs and constitutional rights in this case, the ACLU had previously filed a brief in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit supporting the religious freedom of Muslim police officers who challenged a police order that simply required them to maintain the same grooming standards as their fellow officers.
In the Third Circuit case, the ACLU argued that the police order conflicted with the religious beliefs of Muslims and was therefore unconstitutional, even though the police department believed that the order was necessary to preserve discipline, morale, esprit de corps, and a uniform appearance to provide the public with a better sense of security and trust in its public servants.
Consequently, in the Muslim case, the ACLU tacitly admitted that there are police orders allegedly intended to promote “public trust” that violate the free exercise rights of officers. As such, and contrary to the ACLU’s position taken in the case of Captain Fields, an order forcing an officer to attend a proselytizing event (not a call for service or other legitimate police event) at a place of worship contrary to the officer’s religious beliefs is such an unconstitutional order.
There is no doubt that the reason for the ACLU’s flip-flop is solely because Captain Fields is a Christian.
Aside from debunking the ACLU’s specious arguments, AFLC also refuted the arguments presented by the City in its opposition to this appeal.
Understanding the Islamic Bombing of the Boston Marathon [VIDEO]
In the wake of the terrorist attacks at the Boston Marathon last week, the mainstream media are swiftly downplaying any suggestion that the attacks were conducted by sharia-adherent Islamists. Indeed, the media argues the Qur’an states that Islam forbids the killing of innocents. In the video below, David Wood, an apologist at Answering Muslims and a longtime AFLC client, shines a light on what the Qur’an really says about “killing innocents.”
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AFLC Files FOIA Request over DHS and Southern Poverty Law Center’s Targeting of “Rightwing Extremists”
Today, AFLC filed a Freedom of Information Act (“FOIA”) request with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, seeking all information tying the radically-Left Southern Poverty Law Center—which profiles AFLC and Co-Founder and Senior Counsel David Yerushalmi, among other conservatives, on its website—to DHS’s efforts to target “rightwing extremists.”
As you may recall, in April 2009, DHS issued an assessment entitled, “Rightwing Extremism: Current Economic and Political Climate Fueling Resurgence in Radicalization and Recruitment,” which officially labeled anti-abortion activists, retired military, and those who oppose the homosexual agenda, among other conservatives, as dangerous “extremists.”
You can view the FOIA request here.
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Islam: Political or Religious?
Yesterday, AFLC filed a notice of appeal in the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in response to the Trademark Trial & Appeal Board’s (TTAB) affirmance of the denial of the “Stop Islamisation of America” or “SIOA” trademark application, which was sought by anti-sharia advocates Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer and their organization, the Freedom Defense Initiative (FDI). In a nutshell, the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) rejected the application, ruling that the trademark disparaged Muslims and linked them to terrorism. (You can read the whole story here.)
The Federal Circuit Court of Appeals is a highly-specialized federal court in Washington, D.C., that was established to hear, among others, patent/trademark appeals. At this point, it is difficult to determine how the Federal Circuit will treat this case. Generally, the TTAB, which is the last administrative appeal at the USPTO, rubber stamps the director, but in our case, the briefs and oral argument were so one-sided in our favor that there was hope for a favorable ruling. However, that did not happen, but it was no surprise: most judges are quite hostile when these types of cases are argued. Moreover, and perhaps surprisingly, the most hostile judges are typically Republican appointees. For example, in AFLC’s victories in the lower federal courts in New York and Detroit, the judges were liberal appointees, and they ruled on the side of granting First Amendment protection to our clients’ speech. In this case, given the law at work, it should be an easy victory for our clients. But, we shall wait and see.
To explain further, in one case where AFLC had won in the trial court after a full evidentiary hearing at which the transit authority admitted during cross examination that our clients’ advertisement did not convey an impermissible “political” message, a three-judge panel in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit comprised of 2/3 George W. Bush appointees reversed, holding that the advertisement, “Fatwa on your head? Leaving Islam? Contact www.refugefromislam.com,” was not a permissible “religious” ad but, instead, was impermissibly “political” (the rules were meant to preclude political campaign ads from Detroit/Dearborn buses — not what we call in the law “political speech,” which of course is the most protected of all speech under the First Amendment) because “Fatwa” and sharia are political not religious matters. It was a remarkable and somewhat startling admission.
So, in the Sixth Circuit, sharia is now political, and to the USPTO, it is religious. In sum, the federal courts are a laboratory of the studied application of incoherence where words carry no meaning but are used arbitrarily to protect the politically correct mantra that Muslims and Islam constitute a special class that stands above criticism that is otherwise protected speech under the First Amendment. In short, blasphemy laws are alive and well—we just don’t want to admit it.
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AFLC Month in Review: March 2013
In recent weeks, the war against marriage
, religious freedom, and the Second Amendment
has intensified as secular progressives – led by Barack Obama – charge ahead with their ultimate goal of destroying America and her Judeo-Christian values. In spite of these troubled times, the American Freedom Law Center
(AFLC) remains undeterred in its defense of faith and freedom. Indeed, while the mainstream media reports that conservatives and Christian values have retreated during the last month, AFLC has gone on the offensive
, filing several major briefs in federal courts across the country and even in the U.S. Supreme Court. Accordingly, we are pleased to report to you AFLC’s significant activities for the month of March, all of which are made possible by your generous support
- On March 7, AFLC filed a brief in the U.S. Supreme Court in support of its petition asking the high court to review the constitutionality of the federal “Hate Crimes Act.” An appellate court previously held that several Michigan pastors and a family values advocate lacked standing to challenge the constitutionality of the controversial federal law. Although the Supreme Court Justices declined review, to prevail below the Attorney General had to argue that the law would not criminalize our clients’ speech. Indeed, AFLC was commended by several public leaders – including Congressman Steve King (R-IA) – for challenging this blatantly unconstitutional law. Read more about this case here.
- On March 11, AFLC filed its opening brief in the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver, Colorado in defense of Captain Paul Fields, a Tulsa, Oklahoma police officer who was summarily punished for refusing to attend – and refusing to assign officers under his command who shared his religious beliefs to attend – a mandated Islamic proselytizing event held at a local mosque. The event included mosque tours, watching the weekly prayer service, and receiving presentations on Islamic beliefs. Read more about this case here.
- On March 14, AFLC filed a letter brief in its legal challenge of the HHS “contraception” mandate on behalf of Priests for Life. This informative letter discussed why the federal government’s “religious employer” exemption rule is insufficient and therefore does not protect the religious freedom of Priests for Life. Read more about this case here.
- Also on March 14, AFLC Co-Founder and Senior Counsel Robert Muise wrote a letter to the Michigan House Judiciary Committee in support of House Bill No. 4139, which would repeal Michigan’s archaic “peace bond” statute. This statute is prone to abuse and has been used to silence the First Amendment rights of speakers who engage in unpopular speech. The bill to repeal the “peace bond” statute is sponsored by Rep. Tom McMillin (R-Rochester Hills), an ardent supporter of our constitutional freedoms. Read the letter here.
- On March 25, AFLC filed a brief in support of its motion for a preliminary injunction, which seeks to protect the free speech rights of Christian evangelists who were threatened with arrest by Wayne County deputies for “disorderly conduct” at the 2012 Dearborn, Michigan Arab Festival because an angry mob of Muslim counter-protestors engaged in violence in response to the Christians’ protected speech. Read more about this case here.
- Throughout the month, AFLC took the depositions of several defendants in AFLC’s civil rights lawsuit filed on behalf of four Christian missionarieswho were unlawfully arrested for preaching the Gospel to Muslims at the 2010 Dearborn Arab Festival. Among the deponents were several police officers involved in the incident as well as the Mayor of Dearborn, John O’Reilly. Read more about this important case here.
- And the list goes on . . . .
Thank you for all of your support, past and present. May God continue to bless American and guide her in truth and liberty.
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Who Says Marriage is Between a Man and a Woman? Answer: God.
This week, the Supreme Court will hear argument regarding whether homosexual “marriage” is the legal equivalent of traditional marriage and therefore protected under the Constitution. Regardless of the Court’s decision, one thing is clear: the Court cannot by judicial fiat change transcendent truths.
Christian teaching on marriage and on the complementarity of the sexes reiterates a truth that is evident to right reason and recognized as such by all the major cultures of the world. Marriage is not just any relationship between human beings. It was established by the Creator with its own nature, essential properties, and purpose. No ideology can erase from the human spirit the certainty that marriage exists solely between a man and a woman, who by mutual personal gift, proper and exclusive to themselves, tend toward the communion of their persons. In this way, they mutually perfect each other, in order to cooperate with God in the procreation and upbringing of new human lives.
Basing itself on Sacred Scripture, which presents homosexual acts as acts of grave depravity, the Church has always declared that homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered. They are contrary to the natural law. They close the sexual act to the gift of life. They do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity. Under no circumstances can they be approved. The Apostle Paul, writing by inspiration of the Holy Spirit, declares that those who engage in homosexual acts “shall not inherit the kingdom of God.” (1 Corinthians 6:9; 10). Homosexuality is an illicit lust forbidden by God, who said to His people Israel, “Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination.” (Leviticus 18:22). In every place that the Bible refers to homosexuality, the emphasis is upon the perversion of sexuality. The practicing homosexual is guilty of “leaving the natural use of the woman” (Romans 1:27), meaning that his behavior is “against nature” (Romans 1:26), and thus contrary to God’s will. In Old Testament times in Israel, God dealt severely with homosexuals. He warned His people through Moses, “If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination.” (Leviticus 20:13).
Consequently, respect for homosexual persons cannot lead in any way to approval of homosexual behavior or to legal recognition of homosexual unions. The common good requires that laws recognize, promote, and protect marriage as the basis of the family, the primary unit of society. Legal recognition of homosexual unions or placing them on the same level as marriage would mean not only the approval of deviant behavior, with the consequence of making it a model in present-day society, but would also obscure basic values which belong to the common inheritance of humanity. People of faith cannot fail to defend these values, for the good of men and women and for the good of society itself.
In sum, there are absolutely no grounds for considering homosexual unions to be in any way similar or even remotely analogous to God’s plan for marriage and family. Marriage is holy, while homosexual acts go against moral law. And differentiating between persons or refusing social recognition or special benefits for certain behaviors is unacceptable only when it is contrary to justice. The denial of special protections for forms of cohabitation or sexual behaviors that are not and cannot be marital is not opposed to justice; on the contrary, justice requires it. Indeed, an unjust law is a human law that is not rooted in eternal law and natural law and is thus no law at all.
In the final analysis, when it comes to pronouncing moral truths, the Supreme Court has no authority to change God’s plan for marriage. And for the good of society, let us pray that it does not try to do so.
AFLC Files Letter Brief in Priests for Life’s HHS Mandate Challenge
Today, the American Freedom Law Center (AFLC) filed a letter brief in its legal challenge of the HHS mandate on behalf of Priests for Life. An excerpt of the letter follows:
Plaintiff Priests for Life (“Plaintiff”) hereby respectfully submits this response to the two “notice of supplemental authority” letters (Doc. Nos. 48 & 49) filed by Defendants on February 8, 2013 and February 19, 2013, respectively. . . .
In their February 8, 2013, letter to this court (Doc. No. 48), Defendants cite the much anticipated new rule (NPRM), but there is nothing substantively new about it. Indeed, this NPRM does essentially two things, see 78 Fed. Reg. 8456, 8458 (Feb. 6, 2013) (“The proposed rules would make two principal changes to the preventive services coverage rules to provide women contraceptive coverage . . . .”), neither of which resolves the legal issues presented by this case. These changes are discussed in greater detail below.
First, the NPRM changes the definition of “religious employer” for purposes of the only exemption from the mandate that provides meaningful protection for religious liberty and the right of conscience (i.e., it exempts the organization from having to provide any offending coverage). While the proposed change does eliminate three criteria from the current definition of “religious employer” for purposes of this exemption, it ultimately adopts a definition that includes only those organizations that fall under Section 6033(a)(3)(A)(i) or (iii) of the Internal Revenue Code. 78 Fed. Reg. at 8461 (“Under this proposal, an employer that is organized and operates as a nonprofit entity and referred to in section 6033(a)(3)(A)(i) or (iii) of the Code would be considered a religious employer for purposes of the religious employer exemption.”). These organizations are essentially churches and religious orders—a very narrow class of nonprofit organizations that are not required to file tax returns. Plaintiff, while a nonprofit religious organization, does not qualify for this narrow exemption. Consequently, the government revised the religious employer exemption by not expanding it for organizations such as Plaintiff, but by excluding such organizations altogether. This should end the standing/ripeness inquiry in favor of Plaintiff. Indeed, the government’s promise to protect religious liberty was, as anticipated, an empty promise. If the government truly intended to “never” enforce the contraception coverage mandate against any religious employer (or non-religious employer that objects on religious grounds to the mandate for that matter) (see, e.g., Defs.’ Ltr. of Feb. 8, 2013 at 2 [“Defendants have stated on numerous occasions . . . that the regulations in their current form will never be enforced against employers like plaintiff . . . .”] [Doc. No. 48]), it would have included them in the only exemption to providing such coverage, but it didn’t.
Second, the NPRM provides what the government incorrectly believes to be an acceptable “accommodation” for other nonprofit religious organizations that oppose the mandated contraceptive services, such as Plaintiff. See 78 Fed. Reg. at 8462 (defining “eligible organizations”). However, even the NPRM acknowledges that “eligible organizations with religious objections to contraceptive coverage . . . . [must still] comply with the requirement to provide coverage for contraceptive services.” Id. According to the government’s new application of the mandate, these nonprofit organizations “would not have to contract, arrange, pay or refer for any contraceptive coverage to which they object on religious grounds.” Id. Instead, the “issuer” [i.e., the insurance company] of the organization’s healthcare plan would be required to provide separate individual health insurance policies “for plan participants and beneficiaries [i.e., Plaintiff’s employees] without cost sharing, premium, fee, or other charge.” Id. (emphasis added). “The issuer would automatically enroll plan participants and beneficiaries in a separate individual health insurance policy that covers recommended contraceptive services.” Id. at 8463. (emphasis added). The government claims that this is “cost neutral because they [insurance companies] would be insuring the same set of individuals under both polices and would experience lower costs from improvements in women’s health and fewer childbirths.” Id. at 8463.
In sum, by virtue of the fact that Plaintiff provides health insurance for its employees, its employees will now have insurance that covers contraception, sterilization, and abortifacients. Consequently, the federal government is still forcing Plaintiff to “cooperate with evil.” The “contraceptive services” at issue are not morally neutral, as the government seems to think. Plaintiff does not just “accept” these services—it morally opposes them. The government is thus forcing Plaintiff into a moral predicament that violates its rights protected by both the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment and the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, 42 U.S.C. § 2000bb. If Plaintiff wants to have health insurance, then it must also provide contraceptive services coverage to its employees by order of the federal government. There is no way to avoid this conclusion, which is unacceptable morally and legally. See, e.g., Korte v. Sebelius, No. 12-3841, 2012 U.S. App. LEXIS 26734, at *10 (7th Cir. Dec. 28, 2012) (“The religious-liberty violation at issue here inheres in the coerced coverage of contraception, abortifacients, sterilization, and related services, not—or perhaps more precisely, not only—in the later purchase or use of contraception or related services.”); see also Thomas v. Rev. Bd. of Ind. Emp’t Sec. Div., 450 U.S. 707, 713, 717-718 (1981) (holding that by denying employment benefits because the employee refused, on religious grounds, to work in a plant that produced armaments, the government imposed a substantial burden on the employee’s exercise of religion by “putting substantial pressure on an adherent to modify his behavior and to violate his beliefs,” noting that “[w]hile the compulsion may be indirect, the infringement upon free exercise is nonetheless substantial”) (emphasis added).
In conclusion, the current mandate is the law of the land. See 42 U.S.C. § 300gg-13(a)(4). The government’s most recent articulation of how that mandate will apply to Plaintiff does not change the substantive legal claims at issue in this case. . . .
* * *
Read the full letter here.
Gun Control and the Tyranny of the Left
Our Constitution is designed to accomplish two very important objectives: (1) to prevent tyranny and (2) to protect liberty. Our Founders understood all too well that freedom decreases as the power of government—particularly the power of a centralized, federal government—increases. In addition to drafting a Constitution that created co-equal branches of a limited federal government so as to minimize the threat of an all-powerful federal government, our Founders adopted the Bill of Rights to further protect the people from the tyrannical power of government.
The rights protected by these first ten amendments to the Constitution are not simply privileges conferred upon the people by the government, as the Obama administration and other secular progressives on the far left seem to view them. Rather, they are specific limitations on the power of government. Indeed, they are, in a sense, man’s attempt at codifying transcendent and inalienable rights endowed by our Creator—rights that were alluded to in the very declaration that announced our freedom.
And first among those inalienable rights is the right to freedom of speech. This right allows the people to protest our government, to speak out against those in positions of power within that government, and ultimately to shape public policy by shaping public opinion. In short, this freedom allows the people to peacefully revolt against those in power. It is but one brake on tyranny.
As the U.S. Supreme Court has long acknowledged, “[Speech] concerning public affairs is more than self-expression; it is the essence of self-government.” NAACP v. Claiborne Hardware Co., 458 U.S. 886, 913 (1982). Without the freedom of speech we would cease to exist as a free people.
And next among those rights protected from government infringement is the right to bear arms. Our Founders also understood all too well that an armed citizenry was necessary to preserve freedom, or, as they stated in the Second Amendment, “necessary to the security of a free State.” Indeed, when the British troops marched on Lexington and Concord at the dawn of our Revolutionary War, the British were after the guns that the patriots were stockpiling. Thus, it cannot be gainsaid that our Nation owes its very existence to an armed citizenry which, when necessary, must bear arms in defense of freedom. Consequently, contrary to the misguided views of Joe Biden and others, the Second Amendment protects and preserves far more than the right to hunt deer, shoot skeet, or defend oneself against an armed burglar with a shotgun.
The Second Amendment, at its core, protects the right of a free people to defend itself from tyranny, specifically including the tyranny of its own government. It should come as no surprise then that the Obama administration, which has engaged in an unprecedented power grab by mandating health insurance and trampling on religious freedom in the process by also mandating morally objectionable services such as contraception, sterilization, and abortifacients, is also determined to come for your guns. Make no mistake, gun control is not about stopping crime or violence—it is about disarming law-abiding, private citizens—tomorrow’s “minutemen.”
Today more than ever our freedom is at risk because we are being governed by an administration that quests power and that views the Constitution as a mere inconvenience to that quest. But we, the American people, have faced such a crisis in the past. As Thomas Paine reminds us:
Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph. What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly: it is dearness only that gives every thing its value. Heaven knows how to put a proper price upon its goods; and it would be strange indeed if so celestial an article as freedom should not be highly rated.
Freedom is highly rated and tyranny is like hell. We must defend the former with all our might, and, with God’s grace, we will defeat the latter.
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Prestigious Journal Publishes AFLC Scholarly Article on U.S. Supreme Court’s Obamacare Ruling
In keeping with AFLC’s mission as a public policy leader, AFLC Co-Founders and Senior Counsel Robert Muise and David Yerushalmi recently co-authored a scholarly article that criticized the majority opinion written by Chief Justice John Roberts in the United States Supreme Court’s ruling on the constitutionality of Obamacare. The article, entitled, “Wearing the Crown of Solomon? Chief Justice Roberts and the Affordable Care Act ‘Tax’”, was published in this month’s edition of the prestigious Duke University Press’s Journal of Health Politics, Policy, and Law.
AbstractAttempting to play the role of King Solomon in his PPACA decision, Chief Justice Roberts split the baby perversely by ruling it was not a tax under the Anti-Injunction Act, which would have likely deprived the Court of jurisdiction to hear this pre-enforcement challenge to the individual mandate, but it was a tax for taxing and spending purposes even though Congress said it was a “penalty” and not a tax. And the Chief Justice had to twist further his “wisdom” to hold that it was not an unconstitutional direct tax, even though that is exactly what it is, if it is a tax in the first instance.
If you would like to read the full article, you must purchase a two-day subscription to the Journal by following this link.
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“Counter-Jihad” Advertisements Go Up in Chicago Thanks to AFLC
Another victory for AFLC, and another victory for the First Amendment.
Today, the Freedom Defense Initiative’s (FDI) “counter-jihad” advertisement campaign began running on city buses in Chicago.
The Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) had originally rejected FDI’s advertisements after the local chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) claimed in a “cease and desist” letter to FDI that the proposed ads violated CAIR’s trademark and trade dress rights in the mark #MYJIHAD, which appeared in earlier advertisements run by CAIR.
In a formal response to CAIR-Chicago’s allegations, AFLC Co-Founder and Senior Counsel David Yerushalmi sent an email to the CTA on January 13 that highlighted the letter’s factual and legal inconsistencies regarding trademark and copyright law. In the email, Yerushalmi also warned the CTA that to reject FDI’s advertisements would violate the Constitution and would result in AFLC filing an immediate federal lawsuit.
Consequently, on February 4, the CTA notified AFLC that it will accept FDI’s advertisements. In the letter, the CTA’s General Counsel, Karen Seimetz, admitted that the CTA had decided to run the advertisements out of fear of losing in court given AFLC’s prior courtroom victories on behalf of FDI in New York and in Washington, D.C.
Read more about this case here.
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